Dakar Rally drivers get green light to register for historic race in Saudi Arabia

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Racers gearing up to take part in the grueling Dakar Rally being staged in Saudi Arabia were on Thursday given the green light to submit their applications. (SPA)
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Racers gearing up to take part in the grueling Dakar Rally being staged in Saudi Arabia were on Thursday given the green light to submit their applications. (SPA)
Updated 17 May 2019

Dakar Rally drivers get green light to register for historic race in Saudi Arabia

  • Preparations for the famous motorsport event are already well underway, with 330 vehicles representing 60 nations expected to take part
  • It will be the first time the Dakar Rally is held in the Middle East

RIYADH: Racers gearing up to take part in the grueling Dakar Rally being staged in Saudi Arabia were on Thursday given the green light to submit their applications.
The Kingdom’s General Sports Authority (GSA) announced that drivers wishing to participate in the 2020 race, can register through the rally’s official website at https://competitors.dakar.com
Preparations for the famous motorsport event are already well underway, with 330 vehicles representing 60 nations expected to tackle the punishing 9,000 km route between Jan. 5 and 17.
The race will consist of four categories, namely motorbikes, quads, cars and trucks. Participants will start in Jeddah, passing through a vast area taking in the Saudi Red Sea Project (a luxury tourism development) and the futuristic $500 billion NEOM megacity scheme, the most ambitious building program in the world.
Drivers will then enter the northwestern city of Hail, as part of Hail International Rally, before reaching Riyadh, where they will rest for a day.
From the Saudi capital, the rally will speed off to the Eastern Province, heading through the Empty Quarter desert before the race ends at Al-Qiddiya.
The first edition of the race, which will run in the Kingdom for 10 years, is being jointly organized by the GSA, the Saudi Arabian Motor Federation and Amaury Sport Organization.
It will be the first time the Dakar Rally is held in the Middle East and the race is set to be the largest, longest, hardest and most exciting in its 40-year history.
The annual multi-stage rally has been held in South America since 2009 after being relocated from Africa due to terrorist threats in Mauritania, which led to its cancelation in 2008.
Dakar director, David Castera, has described the relocation to Saudi Arabia as “a voyage into the unknown.” He added: “By going to Saudi Arabia, it is of course that aspect that fascinates me.”


Passionate Saudi musicians Jwa ready to take the world by storm

The group has plans to perform in Jordan, Egypt, Dubai and Bahrain, as it awaits the release of its first album before exploring new horizons. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 19 February 2020

Passionate Saudi musicians Jwa ready to take the world by storm

  • Jwa’s first album is due to be released on Feb. 25
  • The word “jwa” in Arabic means the “highest levels of passion and love,” which embodies how the quintet feel about Indie music — the thing that brought them together

RIYADH: The music scene in the Kingdom is exploding, with young, talented Saudis taking full advantage of the developments in the country by showcasing their talent.
 In a limited time, young Saudi musicians have proven that they are equal to any other young cohort of musicians anywhere in the world.
 One of those talents is a young band from Dhahran, Jwa. Currently performing locally in Riyadh, Jeddah and other cities in the Eastern Province, the group has plans to perform in Jordan, Egypt, Dubai and Bahrain, as it awaits the release of its first album before exploring new horizons.
 The band, formed in 2018, is composed of Methgal Al-Shammari on drums, Mohammad Al-Nahas (bass and vocals), Arkan Al-Zahrani (guitar), Mansour Al-Gallaf (guitar) and Fawaz Baasem (keyboard).
They have had two local hit singles, “Ya Safina” and “Min Jadeed.” Methgal and Mohammad, the founders of Jwa, say that at first they “performed at numerous local events and parties” across the Kingdom. It did not take them long to become popular among Saudis.

FASTFACTS

• Jwa was formed in 2018.

• Since its launch it has two local hit singles.

• The band’s first album is due to be released on Feb. 25.

The word “jwa” in Arabic means the “highest levels of passion and love,” which embodies how the quintet feel about Indie music — the thing that brought them together.
However, they have faced many challenges in the last two years. Methgal and Mohammad said initially a “lack of support for independent bands” and “weakness of the nurturing music environment” within the country halted their progress.
However, due to the steps taken by the General Entertainment Authority, bands like Jwa have become able to make their voices and music heard. In the future, they are looking to go international, to “make their band known not only to different regions of Saudi Arabia but also abroad to gain more momentum and attraction.”
Jwa’s first album is due to be released on Feb. 25.